Thankfully, we are not ruling a nation or running an institute, we are raising a family. We are able to get to the heart of the matter and train the heart. Whether or not the child keeps what he or she is taught is their decision, but it is up to us to teach them and pray that they will be willing learners. It is something extremely important to do.
Without heart training, discipline is nothing more then behavior modification and has little to no lasting benefits. It teaches our children to do what appears to be “right” without necessarily effecting their heart.
Establishing a rule to “share toys” does not teach generosity.
Establishing a rule to not “hit your sister” does not teach loving kindness.
Establishing a rule to “clean up your room” does not teach good stewardship.
We must get to the heart of the matter.
Rules without discipling their heart teaches that obeying rules is all that matters and you can do anything you can get away with. It is making sure someone goes through the motions of virtue without teaching virtues. We must not just give our kids a list of rules, but teach them about the ways of our Lord. In order to train, raise up, and effectively disciple we must, must, must focus on the heart.
A great book that focuses on heart oriented discipline is Don’t Make me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman. (affiliate link) I highly suggest this book!